While on The Hartford (Conn.) Courant’s investigative team, Lisa Chedekel gravitated toward health as a beat.
“For me, in-depth stories about health had a more universal and compelling appeal than other beats I’d covered,’’ says Chedekel, who was among a team of Courant reporters that won a Pulitzer for breaking news reporting in 1999.
“Stories on health offer both hard data and real people – the two things that, to me, make the best stories.”
She co-authored a series on mental health in the military that won a Polk Award and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, and was a 2007 Pulitzer finalist.
Now Chedekel is senior writer and co-founder of the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT), a nonprofit news organization.
Here’s a Q&A with Chedekel:
Health care, specifically investigative reporting on lapses in the health care system that impact consumers.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTICUT HEALTH INVESTIGATIVE TEAM?
A nonprofit news service that produces original, in-depth reporting on health and safety for publication on our own site and distribution to media outlets throughout Connecticut. C-HIT – launched by me and co-founder Lynne DeLucia, former editor at The Hartford Courant – is one of a network of newfangled nonprofit investigative news centers around the country.
RECENT STORIES INCLUDE:
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB:
Identifying lapses or flaws in a system and being able to tell the story through the people actually impacted by them.
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB:
Having to toggle between reporting for, and co-managing, an independent health news site that has to drum up its own income.
STORY YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF:
For C-HIT, a story that exposed the state’s pattern of allowing doctors who were disciplined in other states to practice freely in Connecticut (a story that led to a change in law);
And previously, for The Hartford Courant, a series of stories that examined lapses in the Army’s screening and treatment of troops with mental health problems, some who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and committed suicide there (a series that led Congress to direct the military to adopt stricter screening and treatment rules).
PREVIOUS JOURNALISM JOBS:
Beat, enterprise and investigative reporter for The Hartford Courant, 1992-2008; reporter and columnist for the New Haven Register, 1984-92; reporter for New Haven Advocate, 1982-84.
IF YOU WEREN’T A JOURNALIST YOU’D BE:
IN YOUR FREE TIME YOU:
Do yoga, bike ride, teach journalism, channel-surf (especially “Housewives of New Jersey”), raise 12-year-old twins.
WHAT YOU’RE READING:
Newspapers! NY Times and Boston Globe, delivered every day! Last book finished was Carl Elliott’s “White Coat, Black Hat.”
ONE THING YOUR COLLEAGUES DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU:
I still have to look at the keyboard when I type.
ADVICE TO A JOURNALISM STUDENT:
Use journalism as free continuing education, in as many areas as you can: politics, government, schools, environment. Be a sponge: soak up the knowledge. Approach every beat as an investigative reporter, digging below the surface and past the press release. Be yourself; don’t pretend to know it all. Schmooze. Listen.